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For Release: Tuesday, January 24, 2023

DEC Forest Rangers - Week in Review

Recent Statewide Forest Ranger Actions

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured, or distressed people from across New York State.

In 2022, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 359 search and rescue missions, extinguished 162 wildfires covering more than 1,300 acres, participated in 53 prescribed fires that served to rejuvenate nearly 900 acres of land, and worked on cases that resulted in hundreds of tickets and arrests.

"With more people visiting State lands and enjoying New York's myriad, world-class outdoor recreational opportunities, DEC's Forest Rangers are on the front lines to help visitors get outside responsibly and get home safely," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Each day, these highly trained first responders are protecting irreplaceable natural resources and utilizing their expert knowledge of wildland fire suppression, wilderness first aid, land navigation, law enforcement, and technical rescue techniques to successfully execute critical missions, for DEC and our countless local, state, and national partners."

Hamlet of Middle Island
Suffolk County
Unconscious Subject Found:
On Jan. 17 at 1 p.m., while patrolling Rocky Point State Forest, Ranger Hicks noticed a vehicle parked in a field. Ranger Hicks approached the car and noticed a woman passed out in the driver's seat with a hypodermic needle in her hand. The Ranger was able to get the 36-year-old's attention while also calling for an ambulance. The victim was conscious as Middle Island Fire Department transported her to the hospital.

Village of Bloomingburg
Sullivan County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Jan. 17 at 3:27 p.m., Forest Rangers Cowart, O'Connell, and Rusher responded to a call for a lost hiker. A 53-year-old from Newburgh became lost on the way back to his vehicle. New York State Police found the subject's vehicle at the end of Gould Lake Road. Ranger O'Connell made cell phone contact with the hiker and determined his location. Rangers and a member of the Bloomingburg Fire Department hiked in and located the subject approximately one-half mile from the road. The subject was evaluated by the Mamakating First Aid Squad. Resources were clear at 5:45 p.m.

Hamlet of Manorville
Suffolk County
Illegal Use of Motor Vehicle:
On Jan. 21, while patrolling Otis Pike Preserve, Ranger Hicks observed a subject illegally driving a motorized dirt bike on State land. When the operator noticed Ranger Hicks, the 15-year-old fled to a nearby residence. Ranger Hicks located the teenager and charged his parent with allowing a juvenile to operate an ATV on State land. The dirt bike was impounded.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC's Hike Smart NY, Adirondack Backcountry Information, and Catskill Backcountry Information webpages for more information.

If a person needs a Forest Ranger, whether it's for a search and rescue, to report a wildfire, or to report illegal activity on state lands and easements, they should call 833-NYS-RANGERS. If a person needs urgent assistance, they can call 911. To contact a Forest Ranger for information about a specific location, the DEC website has phone numbers for every Ranger listed by region.

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